Introduction: Adonis Flores

Biography:

Adonis came from Guanajuato, Mexico to Detroit at the age of nine and has lived here ever since. He graduated from Hope of Detroit Academy middle school, and from Consortium College Preparatory high school, as the class valedictorian.  By the time he graduated from high school he already had 24 college credits. Adonis is a student at Wayne State University, majoring in environmental engineering.


Introductory Post:

You might wonder why an engineering student is so involved in civil rights. As an immigrant from Mexico, I have experienced firsthand the systematic oppression of immigrants from Mexico and Central America. I have noticed that the American economy’s demand for labor goes up and down and attracts immigrants during economic booms but not so much during economic recessions, such as the one we are in now. However, the immigration system disregards this need to allow the free flow of workers according to the demand, causing a jam in the system. I keep hearing so many immigrants that wish to go back home during these hard economic times, but they are afraid of leaving because they have no hope of legalizing their status and they know that crossing the border illegally is becoming more and more dangerous every year. I believe that in a global market where goods and services flow freely, it is necessary for workers to have more freedom following the demand for labor, otherwise pockets of high unemployment will form on one side of the border and growth will slow down or halt in the other side of the border due to the need for workers.

I first felt the lack of opportunities for immigrants like myself, when I started to apply to colleges and universities. I was more qualified than many of my friends to receive scholarships and other forms of financial aid, but due to my status as an undocumented immigrant, I was not eligible for any of these opportunities. Later on, after the approval of the Michigan Civil Rights initiative, I lost the little financial assistance that I was receiving. Then, more recently, policies that directly attacked and oppressed people like myself were adopted throughout several states, like Arizona.

This sequence of events helped me realize that these policies are hurting our communities and preventing hard working individuals like myself from uplifting our neighborhoods and ourselves. They block development and growth for not just immigrants, but America as a whole, by attacking well established communities within America itself. I believe that social disparities that promote oppression will only worsen if these polices are not changed. This is why I became involved in this civil rights cause. Someone has to speak up against this injustices, and if we don’t do it, who will?

Introduction: Vivian Chang

Biography:
A native Michigander, Vivian Chang was born and raised in Okemos, Michigan.  She attended Wellesley College, a women’s college, and is now a law student at the University of Michigan.  She hopes to work as a public defender upon graduation, and has done academic research on the intersection of criminal and immigration law.

Vivian is a second-generation Taiwanese-American and identifies as a queer person of color.

Introductory Post:
“If my Taiwanese parents were able to wait patiently in order to immigrate legally, why can’t yours?”  Or so the logic goes.

My parents came to Michigan as graduate students, which presupposes that they had the resources to attend college in Taiwan.  Once they arrived, one of my aunts served as a sponsor for both of them.  They were exceptionally lucky.  Not all immigration stories, not even of well-heeled Taiwanese families, are like that.

To say that immigration reform is not an Asian-American issue is to erase an enormous portion of our community, especially those who are not from privileged East Asian families.  As a progressive Asian-American activist, I believe it is incumbent on our community to work in support of progressive immigration reform; this is an issue that is ripping our community apart.  The immigration debate is not something that Asian-Americans can elect to ignore, either in our capacity as members of the greater Asian-American community or as allies to other communities of color.